START Conference Manager    

ASIST 2012 Annual Meeting 
Baltimore, MD, October 26-30, 2012

Eating Disorder Questions in Yahoo! Answers: Information, Conversation, or Reflection?
Leanne Bowler, Jung Sun Oh, Daqing He, Eleanor Mattern and Wei Jeng

Tuesday, 10:30am


This study investigated a particular form of social Q &A - Yahoo! Answers - and the nature of the questions posed by teens on the topic of eating disorders. The goals of this study were to identify the information needs of questioners in Yahoo! Answers vis a vis the topic of eating disorders, to create a taxonomy of question types in Yahoo! Answers on the topic of eating disorders, and finally, to contribute to broader models of question-asking in social media. We achieved these goals through a content analysis of 2230 questions posed in Yahoo! Answers between December 2005 and April 2011. This resulted in a classification scheme with five overarching themes - Seeking Information, Seeking Emotional Support, Seeking Communication, Seeking Self-Expression, and Seeking Help to Complete a Task, and the sub-categories of factual, diagnosis, treatment or intervention, validation, seeking comfort, conversation starters, deep talk, confession, reflection, homework help, and manuscript ideas. Through the investigation of the socio-emotional aspects of social Q&A, this study enriches our understanding of the affective dimension of health information behavior.